Forget that tired line about Washington being Hollywood for ugly people: It turns out beauty is big business in the District.
Susanna Quinn, who in 2015 leveraged her Washington Q score to launch the on-demand beauty app Veluxe, announced this week that she sold her company to competitor Glamsquad for an undisclosed amount. Not bad for a woman once known as simply a “socialite” — entrepreneur and influencer are more like it.
“I’ve always been a connector,” Quinn said. “I’m not happy if I’m not productive. I’ve got three or four ideas for something to do next. I can rest when I’m dead.”
Glamsquad, which offers on-demand, in-home hair and makeup appointments, launched in 2014, a year before Quinn’s start-up Veluxe got up and running in Washington. Since its debut, which the Reliable Source exclusively announced, Veluxe counts hundreds of Washington’s power women among its client base. Big names such as Ivanka Trump, Dana Bash, Norah O’Donnell, Katherine Bradley and Stephanie Cutter have all been repeat bookers.
When Glamsquad began its local market research with an eye on expanding into the District, “everybody was talking about Veluxe,” said Glamsquad chief executive Amy Shecter. The Veluxe acquisition, which positions Quinn as a senior adviser and Washington ambassador for the brand, widens Glamsquad’s consumer reach by building on Quinn’s VIP client base.
Women in Washington, more than any other town, have a complicated relationship with beauty, Quinn said, walking a line between investing too much (being frivolous) and too little (being sloppy) in their look. Many “Veluxers” spend their working hours on Capitol Hill or cable news, and, according to Quinn, “studies have shown that no matter what is said about a woman’s appearance, it can have an unfairly negative impact on what potential voters think of her, as compared to a man.”
“Political women deal with the damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” Quinn said. “If you look fabulous, you must not be working hard enough. If you look crappy, you don’t have pride in yourself. D.C. is a tough place.”
Perhaps more blow-dries and bold red lips are the antidote.